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The shaker and the damage done
By Gloria Diaz
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Fort Wayne Reader
I'm an addict.
I'm addicted to white powder. It's a common white powder. Everyone's heard of it.
It destroys lives.
My father had problems with it.
And it's got a hold on me.
It's called salt.
What, you thought it was cocaine, or even crack? Salt is really the only white powered substance I can afford, unless you count talcum powder. And Johnson's Baby Powder does nothing for French fries.
Oh, I knew I loved salt. I freely admitted it. But I had no idea how much of it I consumed until I went on a juice fast last December. For an entire week, I consumed homemade juice, one cup of hot chocolate, and a couple of chocolate milks. I remember in the middle of that week, I did break down and eat a little bit of salt. I remember drinking quite a bit of water that night. But I figured if having a little bit of salt kept me from breaking down and eating, it was okay.
Then, at the end of the fast, I lost ten pounds. I have one of those fat measuring scales, and while the blubber percentage hadn't budged, that other number had. I had felt it a few days earlier, because my knees felt different, as if they were springs and a weight had lifted. And it had.
This was significant. For years, I'd tried to lose weight, but nothing was working. It had never occurred to me that salt was one of the problems. The other was my addiction to junk food, which incidentally has a lot of salt. And I noticed something. When I was on the juice fast, I seemed to be okay. When I was off it, and eating lots of fruits and veggies, I was also okay. But when I decided to “treat” myself, I couldn't just do it for a couple days and stop. Frequently, I'd lose five pounds, then treat myself (with salt) and the five pounds would come back on as quickly as I'd lost them. Sometimes faster, which was truly frightening.
But at least I know what the problem was (is). It's up to me to stay away from the salt and the bad food. I had a goal weight in mind in order to fit into a dress I had. I realized very close to my goal (like a pound and a half away) that even if I made the weight, I still wouldn't really be able to fit into the dress I wanted to wear for a certain event. That was fine. I still had stuff I could wear.
However, a co-worker was convinced that I was a size 12. I was sure that I wasn't and tried on some new pants at a store to prove her wrong. Turns out I was wrong. I was able to fit into the size 12 pants. True, they didn't look flattering on me, but that was beside the point. I hadn't been in a size 12 in a very long time. And because of the co-worker, I ended up at a local discount store and discovered a little black dress that not only I could put on myself (it didn't have a zipper like the one I had planned to wear) but it was comfortable. COMFORTABLE! Do you know how rare that is for nice clothing? Even though the sales associate suggested I get the next size up (which didn't exist), I liked the way I looked in the mirror. I already had my shoes, so I was set.
I can tell by my knees that I've put on weight again. I'm afraid to get on the scale, and I know that's a bad thing. My pants are still loose on me, so that's good. But I have seen too much positive stuff while eating better and working out to get sidetracked. Since I'm surrounded by friends and acquaintances with health problems, I can't imagine how bad it's going to be in ten years' time. I know there will be a day where I won't want to go to Cedar Point or go skiing, but until then, I want to get my coaster and slope on as much as I can before that day comes.
And I know the price of bad nutrition: health problems and bankruptcy. So when I see proponents of the fat acceptance movement complain about discrimination, I want to tell them that yeah, it's a drag to have people make judgments because of the way you look. At the same time, I've never looked at a fit person and said, “think of all the junk food they are missing out on.” Or, “wow, they are so unhealthy looking.” I don't think all women need to be a size 2, but neither should they asipre to be a size 30. The same goes for men.
But with all those support groups out there, isn't there one for people like me? Saltaholics Anonymous? If there isn't, there ought to be.